PASC demands Government apology

27 March 2014

A Report of the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) demands that the Government apologise for failing to respond to a Select Committee Report that was published 20 months ago, in July 2012

The PASC Report The Business Appointment Rules was published on 17 July 2012 and concluded that that the current rules around the employment of former Government ministers and crown servants do not command public confidence and need to be reformed.

Since PASC’s report, there have been numerous media reports about the employment of former ministers, retired generals and ex senior civil servants—prompting further concerns about a “revolving door” between Government and industry. 

Bernard Jenkin MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"We concluded in July 2012 that the public did not have confidence in the current rules governing the employment of former ministers and crown servants. This lack of confidence affects the faith of the public in the political system as a whole.

There is continuing and widespread public concern about conflicts of interest arising from people moving into the private sector from Whitehall. There is a constant stream of often inaccurate allegations of improper behaviour by former ministers, civil servants and senior officers of the armed forces. The present arrangements neither provide assurance nor command public confidence. We have had no explanation of why the Government has been unable to respond to our recommendations.

The Government’s own guidance states that they should respond to Select Committee reports within two months—failing to respond in over twenty months is simply unacceptable. Not only does it demonstrate a cavalier disregard for Parliament, it also suggests the absence of coherent Government policy in a critical area. We believe that it is right for the responsible minister, the Rt Hon Francis Maude, to come before the House of Commons to apologise for the handling of this issue. The Government now says it will provide a response by the Easter recess, but this follows an assurance nine months ago that they would provide a response 'as soon as is possible'." 

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